Obaseki basks in victory, greets Buhari
… President hails INEC, security agents …Atiku, Wike, Okowa,others congratulate re-elected governor …Say, goodbye to godfatherism
As congratulatory messages continue to come the way of Governor Godwin Obaseki over his victory in the off-season gubernatorial election held in Edo State yesterday, the re-elected governor has however thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for defending the nation’s democracy.
Obaseki also commended the president for allowing the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security services to perform their constitutional functions without interference.
The elated governor noted that INEC and the security services had shown Nigerians and the world that they were capable of conducting free and credible elections.
While thanking the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the governors on the party’s platform for giving him and his deputy the platform to achieve their political aspirations, he reiterated his commitment to making Edo Great Again.
“Our success has reinforced my belief that there is nothing we cannot achieve as a people if we put forces together and collectively call on God for support,” Obaseki said.
“Words fail me in saluting the teeming supporters who displayed courage in the face of fierce intimidation and brutalisation. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism.
“I’m eternally grateful to my party, the PDP, and my brother-governors, not only for giving us the umbrella during our political storm, but for the hard works which have brought me back as governor,” he said.
Earlier, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and chairman, PDP governorship campaign council, commended the governor for allowing himself to be used by the people of the state to fight godfatherism.
“Let me formally introduce the newest governor in the country, the man who God used to fight godfatherism.
“Edo people have spoken and say you cannot tie our fate in one man’s hands and that was what Edo people did yesterday,” Wike said.
“I want to thank the governor and his deputy for allowing themselves to be used to fight for the interest of Edo people.
“Let me thank all the entire people of Edo State for their support since the campaigns, during the election and till today. To God be the glory all your efforts are not in vain. Our governor has been declared the winner of the September 19, 2020, governorship election in Edo State,” he said.
The President congratulated Obaseki, who scored a total of 307,955 or 86.75 percent of the total votes to defeat his closest rival and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who scored 223,619 representing 13.25 percent of the total votes.
Obaseki also won in 13 local government areas while Ize-Iyamu won in 5 local government areas.
The results were announced by Akpofure Rem-Rukeh, vice-chancellor, University of Petroleum Resources, Effuru, Delta.
Reacting to outcome of the exercise yesterday, President Buhari commended the election process in which led to the victory of Governor Obaseki.
Buhari, in a statement signed by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, urged Obaseki, who had similarly defeated Ize-Iyamu in 2016, to show grace and humility in victory.
He applauded INEC for conducting a credible election, adding, “My commitment to free and fair elections is firm, because without free and fair elections, the foundation of our political and moral authority will be weak.”
According to the president, “I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order.
“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with.”
He also commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
In his message, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general election, said: “The end of godfatherism has come in Nigeria.”
In a statement he personally signed, Atiku said there was a new dawn in Edo State, and that the hard won victory of “Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki is not just a victory, but a Declaration of Independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism.”
According to Atiku, “No victory could be sweeter than this, and I heartily congratulate the governor, and the good people of Edo State for their resilience in the face of the forces arrayed against them.”
The Adamawa-born politician further said: “Edo has a rich history as the centre of Black civilisation, and to this, she is adding a new history as the bastion of Nigerian democracy. This double whammy of ancient and modern glories is a testament to a people who have for centuries set the pace as a beacon of light on the African continent.”
Appreciating the roles played by voters in Edo and the PDP family, he said: “I most heartily congratulate the PDP, who stood shoulder to shoulder, with the people of Edo and their government, in good times and bad. We, in the PDP, have shown that we are not fair weather friends to the good people of Edo. In good times, we will walk beside you. In bad times, we will be your true ‘comrade’. We will never be a turncoat. We will never abandon the principles we once espoused, so we can dine with our nemesis. Democracy has no nemesis. And this, the PDP has again proved.”
He was optimistic that the next four years under Obaseki would be greater than the former.
“I look forward to the continuation of four more years of tangible development, and people-centred leadership from Governor Obaseki. I also seize this opportunity to thank His Royal Highness, the Oba of Benin, Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo, Ewuare II, for the fatherly role he played as a neutral catalyst for peace. That this election was, by and large, free from violence, is a testament of the long and effective shadow he casts over his domain.
“From personal experience, I know Governor Obaseki to be a magnanimous man, and I urge Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to accept the right hand of fellowship that is likely to be extended to him. The leprous hand he is now holding, can only lead to a destination of barrenness. He is among strange bedfellows, and I remind him that no matter how far one has gone on a wrong road, it is never too late to turn back and head in the right direction. The PDP is the right direction.”
He challenged Ondo State to emulate Edo, emphasising, “There is a new wind of democratic change now blowing all over Nigeria. The forces of despotism, nepotism, and interlopers cannot successfully withstand this force. Nigeria shall soon be totally free from these forces, from Kaura Namoda to Lagos. The only power that will stand in Nigeria is people power, not the power of godfathers, or despots.”
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, on Sunday, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said the people of Edo across the 18 local government areas spoke loudly and clearly in their reaffirmation of the choice of Obaseki as their governor.
The governor, who is the chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum, said with the re-election of Obaseki, the entire region was now being ruled by the PDP.
“Let me congratulate my brother Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, on their victory in the September 19 Governorship election in Edo.
“It is heart-warming to see you re-emerge as Governor of Edo against all odds and I am grateful to the people of Edo for shunning the entreaties of retrogressive forces who were deviously bent on subverting the wishes of the people,” he said.
“Let me also thank the INEC for being truly independent as required by the laws of our land.
“The most significant aspect of this victory is the peaceful outcome of the election as Edo people proved pundits wrong by ensuring that the elections were devoid of violence,” he further said.
Felicitating with the PDP on the victory, Okowa said, “Let me also congratulate our great party, the PDP and the chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike and other members of the Campaign Council for their efforts, which led to the victory of the party in Edo.
“The brotherhood displayed by the governors of the PDP and other party members towards the re-election of Obaseki is what the country needs to take the nation to greater heights in 2023.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate you my brother Governor, Godwin Obaseki and your deputy, Philip Shaibu, on your resounding re-election by the resilient people of Edo who displayed honour, dignity and courage.
“It is my prayer that God will grant you wisdom, knowledge and the needed resources to attend to your campaign promises to the people,” he said.